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August 17, 2012 (Bronx, NY) – On Thursday, July 26, 2012, Governor Cuomo’s Education Reform Commission came to Hostos Community College to hear public testimony from teachers, administrators and experts—including journalist Campbell Brown, formerly of CNN and NBC's “Weekend Today”—in its ongoing effort to improve New York’s public school system.

For three hours, Commission members heard testimony from different panels on such issues as teacher quality, student achievement, school systems and community engagement.

Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, President of Hostos, welcomed the Commission, special panel members, the general public, and representatives of the media who filled the C-Cafeteria.

Matos Rodríguez praised the work of the commission noted that Hostos is in partnerships with several K-12 schools in the South Bronx and Manhattan. He also spoke of the college’s role as a gateway to success and mentioned Celina Sotomayor as an example. Celina, who graduated from the Hostos nursing program in 1973, is the mother of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Among the Commission members who attended the hearing were: Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor of The City University of New York (CUNY); Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY); and Richard Parsons, Chair of the New York Education Reform Commission and retired Chairman of Citigroup.

Chairman Parsons called it “an important day for public education,” which is facing many challenges.

The meeting at Hostos was the third of 10 hearings—the Commission already having visited Albany and Buffalo—which Parsons describes as an effort to learn “what is right, what is wrong, and how it can fix” the problems of public education.

Governor Cuomo established the NY Education Reform Commission in April, bringing together nationally-recognized education, community, and business leaders to recommend measures for reforming the state's education system in order to improve performance in the classroom.

The Commission will examine the current structure of the state's education system, including teacher recruitment and performance, student achievement, education funding and costs, parent and family engagement, problems facing high-need districts, and the best use of technology in the classroom. The Commission will also analyze the organization of school districts to ensure they are structured to meet the needs of New York's students while also respecting the taxpayer.

Furthermore, the Commission will meet multiple times and gather input and information from throughout the state. It is expected to submit preliminary recommendations to the Governor by the end of 2012.

New York State spends more money per student than any other state in the nation, but ranks 38th in high school graduation. Seventy-three percent of New York's students graduate from high school, yet only 37 percent are college ready. To address these major shortcomings in the state's education system, Governor Cuomo called for the creation of the New NY Education Reform Commission in his 2012 State of the State address.

Members of the NY Education Reform Commission include:

Richard (Dick) Parsons, Retired Chairman, Citigroup, Chair of the New NY Education Reform Commission
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
Geoffrey Canada, Founder & CEO, Harlem Children's Zone
Irma Zardoya, President & CEO, NYC Leadership Academy
Elizabeth Dickey, President, Bank Street College of Education
Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, President, Say Yes to Education
Lisa Belzberg, Founder & Chair Emeritus, PENCIL
Michael Rebell, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Campaign for Educational Equity
Karen Hawley Miles, President & Executive Director, Education Resource Strategies
José Luis Rodríguez, Founder & CEO, Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc.
Sara Mead, Associate Partner, Bellwether Education Partners
Eduardo Martí, Former Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges, CUNY
Thomas Kane, Professor of Education & Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jean Desravines,CEO, New Leaders
Michael Horn, Executive Director & Co-Founder, InnoSight Institute
Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, SUNY
Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, CUNY
John B. King, Jr., Commissioner, New York State Education Department
Senator John Flanagan, Chair, Senate Education Committee
Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Chair, Assembly Education Committee

About Hostos Community College                                                                                   
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2012 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

Media Contact:
Ana M. Carrión - amcarrion@hostos.cuny.edu
Soldanela Rivera - srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu
Rich Pietras – rpietras@hostos.cuny.edu

Phone: 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097 or 718-518-6513

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